Cognitive brain activity before and after surgery in meningioma patients

Irena T. Schouwenaars*, Miek J. de Dreu, Geert Jan M. Rutten*, Nick F. Ramsey, J. Martijn Jansma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Neuropsychological studies have demonstrated that meningioma patients frequently exhibit cognitive deficits before surgery and show only limited improvement after surgery. Combining neuropsychological with functional imaging measurements can shed more light on the impact of surgery on cognitive brain function. We aimed to evaluate whether surgery affects cognitive brain activity in such a manner that it may mask possible changes in cognitive functioning measured by neuropsychological tests. Twenty-three meningioma patients participated in a fMRI measurement using a verbal working memory task as well as three neuropsychological tests focused on working memory, just before and 3 months after surgery. A region of interest based fMRI analysis was used to examine cognitive brain activity at these timepoints within the central executive network and default mode network. Neuropsychological assessment showed impaired cognitive functioning before as well as 3 months after surgery. Neuropsychological test scores, in-scanner task performance as well as brain activity within the central executive and default mode network were not significantly different between both timepoints. Our results indicate that surgery does not significantly affect cognitive brain activity in meningioma patients the first few months after surgery. Therefore, the lack of cognitive improvement after surgery is not likely the result of compensatory processes in the brain. Cognitive deficits that are already present before surgery appear to be persistent after surgery and a considerable recovery period. Our study shows potential leads that comprehensive cognitive evaluation can be of added value so that cognitive functioning may become a more prominent factor in clinical decision making.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3759-3771
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2024


  • cognition
  • functional MRI
  • meningioma
  • tumour resection
  • working memory


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